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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

COVID-19 Update: St. Louis City and County Issue Standards and Guidelines for Re-opening Businesses

On May 8, 2020, both St. Louis City and St. Louis County issued orders providing almost identical standards and guidance for the re-opening of most businesses on May 18, 2020. For the full City order, click here, and for the full County order, click here.

The orders require all businesses that choose to re-open on May 18 to adhere to the following standards and guidance (in both St. Louis City and County, unless noted):

● Require frequent disinfection of all high touch surfaces and areas.

● Provide reasonable breaks for employees to wash hands.

● Train employees about procedures related to disinfection processes and social distancing requirements.

● Provide employees with face coverings or supplies to make face coverings.

● Require employees to wear face coverings while at work, unless such employee is working alone in an enclosed area. Employees with a medical reason for not wearing a face covering do not need to wear one (County only).

● Conduct daily screening of employees who work in their facilities for COVID-19 symptoms.

● Encourage employees to quarantine if they have or are believed to have COVID-19 or have come into contact with individual(s) with COVID-19.

● Require gloves to be worn by employees where appropriate (City only).

● Encourage remote working where feasible (City only).

● Consider policies like staggering shifts to increase social distancing (City only).

Also, the County order specifically permits a business to deny entry to an individual who refuses to wear a face covering for non-medical reasons. For businesses that have direct interactions with the public such as retail, restaurants, personal services with physical contact, and place of worship, the orders set forth some additional requirements, including:

● Limiting the number of people in the location based on the square footage and fire/building code occupancy (in line with Missouri’s re-opening order).

● Install physical barriers between customers and employees or otherwise ensure that six feet of distancing is maintained and install clear markings in areas of congregation to ensure six feet of distancing between customers.

● Post signage inside and outside the location detailing social distancing requirements (e.g., face covering) and limits on crowd size. The City requires signage about hygiene.

● Prohibit customers from bringing outside containers into the location.

● Consider separate operating hours for high risk individuals.

Both orders further mandate that certain businesses and facilities remain closed, except for minimum necessary activities to maintain a business’s inventory, provide security, process employee payroll and benefits, or to help employees to continue to work remotely. The following facilities may not re-open on May 18: entertainment, cultural, conference, casino and sporting venues; gyms and fitness centers; banquet rooms; bars that do not serve full meals are limited to curbside and pickup service; indoor and outdoor pools; sporting events; sports courts in the County; contact sports courts and playing fields in the City; and playgrounds.

Business that violate these standards and requirements could be subject to closure. If you are planning on re-opening your business in any fashion, you should carefully review the order applicable to your location to ensure compliance. As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation and should not be relied on as such. Please contact one of our labor and employment lawyers if you have any questions.

This update was prepared by Kevin A. Sullivan.


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